Oshi no Ko is a hugely successful manga and anime series that gives a brutally honest behind-the-scenes look at the pop idol industry. The novel goes beyond satire or partial deconstruction, as author Aka Akasaka needed to delve deep to highlight the industry's many shortcomings.
Many manga and anime satirize specific genres, such as Chainsaw Man dissecting shonen action series or One-Punch Man wondering what superheroes truly are on the inside. Meanwhile, Oshi no Ko went beyond comic deconstruction and embraced the darkness in order to make a forceful statement that would have fallen flat otherwise.
Oshi no Ko Has a Straightforward Message to Deliver
On some levels, Oshi no Ko may entertain anime lovers as another colorfully animated idol series, but it's abundantly evident that this isn't just another idol anime with cutting-edge or humorous themes. There's no doubt that Akasaka wants to thoroughly expose the harsh idol industry for what it is, and the characters are vehicles for doing so. Oshi no Ko is clearly driven by characters at moments, like as Ruby Hoshino's impassioned goal to start her own idol group, but the message is the true protagonist here.
Oshi no Ko cannot afford to hold back and employ funny satire like Zombieland Saga did in order to fully analyze and destroy the idol industry. Instead, this anime amps up the heartbreaking drama and shocks viewers with terrible moments like Ai Hoshino's death at the hands of a yandere fan, or Aqua losing his happiness in his pursuit for vengeance. The human drama and character arcs are important -- these characters aren't just mouthpieces for the author -- but the story's premise demands harsh criticism, and that angle can only be delivered through murder, heartbreak, constant lies, and the destruction of one's own happiness.
Oshi no Ko Adds Drama by Twisting Familiar Genres
Oshi no Ko combines numerous genres to convey a grim but honest message, including some light isekai aspects in which Dr. Gorou and his patient Sarina were resurrected as Ai's twin son and daughter. The anime also takes a "school life" style, with Aqua and Ruby already being high school students focused on performing, idol work, and secret vengeance. Osho no Ko subverts expectations by giving familiar notions a grim edge, reminding audiences that even though rebirth is a reality, the idol industry is still harming the entire Hoshino family.
The plot occasionally provides humorous relief and usual high school pranks, but its strongest moments occur when its gloomy themes of revenge, the awful idol industry, and a potentially wasted life are at the forefront. The high school shenanigans and comedy serve just to keep the tone balanced, while truly depressing passages like as Aqua's obsessive vow of vengeance and Ai's dying words propel the plot forward. This distinguishes Oshi no Ko from other deconstruction anime such as Chainsaw Man and Zombieland Saga, in which the story is ultimately about hope and the protagonist's inspirational ambitions, with the negative plot aspects serving as obstacles to heroically overcome.
Oshi no Ko, on the other hand, is preparing Aqua and Ruby for agony and failure. The entire Hoshino family is paying the price for their involvement in the idol market, and even with a fresh start, the twins simply cannot win. They are the victims of a brutally honest deconstruction of idols, in which the author uses them and their mother as a tragic illustration of what happens when people glamorize lies and metaphorically sell their souls for fame -- or revenge.